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Nhl Case Study

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Case Study: Marketing the National Hockey League
Executive Summary: Hockey started in 1917 with teams who played competitive games, professionally as a form of both entertainment, and economic income. Teams entered the National Hockey League (NHL), but many folded, leaving six teams, also known as "The Original Six" who survived by 1943. Over the years, the league expanded all through North America, up until 1995 when the league had 26 teams competing for the "hockey veil"- The Stanley Cup. Men from all over the world were being scouted and drafted to the NHL, turning the league into a thriving business for players, coaches, owners, and advertisements. Looking at the bigger picture, hockey is still substantially less popular than other professional sports that are being listened to on the radio, watched on the television, and being played recreationally. The problem is that there is not a large enough fan base coming out of Canada. Ways to change this are: more involvement with Canadian media, have Canadian hockey players reach out to their hometowns, or have the NHL put together another Canadian team. When it comes down to the best alternative for the NHL to expand, involving more of the Canadian media is the best option. If the plan is implemented, the overall outcome would be beneficial to the NHL.
Situational Analysis: Problem Statement: The National Hockey League is a business where marketing is incredibly important. Since 1917 when hockey was introduced, exposing the sport has been complicated. In comparison to other sports such as baseball and football, hockey is having difficulty spreading the name of the game across North America. People in both the United States and Canada are not appreciating the intense sport as much as is expected. The biggest problem with the National Hockey League is that its fan base is weak − especially the fan base coming out of Canada. It is such an important problem to be resolved for two reasons; first, hockey is supposed to be "Canada's game" and therefore there needs to be a solid platform of which to promote from. Secondly, since Canada's population is about a tenth of that in the United States, targeting the minority will provide a more significant growth in fans, especially since competitors such as football, baseball, and basketball are less popular in Canada. In order for the NHL to experience growth in all sorts of ways, whether is being financially, or fanatically, Canadians need to be more targeted and influenced over Americans.
SWOT Analysis:
Strengths in the NHL:
• Negotiation tactics
• Gaining sponsorships
• Grassroots Programs
Weaknesses in the NHL:
• Popularity
• Financial income
• Overseers of the NHL disagree on ways to market the NHL
Opportunities in the NHL:
• Increasing popularity
• Increase revenue
• Leaders can agree upon marketing tactics
Threats in the NHL:
• Losing financially
• Competing with other professional sports
• Canadians will not accept the new marketing tactics Assumptions that one would need to make about the absent information is that the National Hockey League would continue to prosper, and targeting towards Canadians would further in marketing the NHL. As the popularity rises, so should the revenue received by the NHL and its teams. Realistically, this should only be possible if overseers leading professional hockey can agree upon marketing tactics.
Diagnostic of the Problem: When it comes down to the problem, marketing towards Canadians is crucial in creating a larger fan base for the National Hockey League. According to Exhibit 13 in Marketing: An Introduction, a higher percentage of Canadians are known as "big" and "casual" fans of hockey. Even though Canadians are known as this, according to page 572 in Marketing: An Introduction there are many more Americans who watch hockey than Canadians. By connecting with more Canadians there comes a stronger fan base who will spend more on merchandise and many other NHL related products. In doing so, one must remember that they are still competing with other professional sports, and the overseers of the league have to stick together in making decisions affecting the marketing business.
Strategic Options:
Identification of Alternatives:
- Endorse another NHL team in Canada
• Creating another Canadian team in the NHL would promote another city to reach out and support hockey in that area. Not only would merchandise be selling quickly, but people would be intrigued in watching a new NHL team not only in America, but especially in Canada. Change to a city, along with a new team to a professional sport attracts many people, and in this case, Canadians.
- Get more involved with the Canadian media industry
• At this point, the only Canadian stations airing hockey on television are TSN and CBC which only does "Hockey Night in Canada" once a week. If Canadian television can show more NHL games both during the week, as well as on more channels, this could increase the number of hockey viewers in Canada.
- Use Canadian hockey players to promote the NHL
• According to page 571 in Marketing: An Introduction approximately 60 percent of the players in the National Hockey League are Canadians. Having so many Canadians can go into their hometowns promoting the NHL and playing recreational hockey. Everyone loves professional athletes.
Evaluate the Alternatives: Creating another NHL team in Canada can be negatively effected by geographic segmentation because the major cities already have an NHL team. The smaller cities would struggle financially. Finding a location would also be difficult where cities are smaller. Secondly, the negative aspects that may come from gaining a partnership with more Canadian networks would be seen in the effects of consumer satisfaction. If Canadian shows are replaced by NHL games, many people could be angry that the show they watch is cancelled or moved. With that, it could lower popularity levels in the NHL even more. Finally, negative effects could arise through customer relationships as Canadian professional hockey players may not be interested in going back to their roots and supporting recreational hockey. They may also not have the friendliest personality and for both of those reasons the population they represent may gain negative views of hockey players, especially Canadian hockey players.
Recommendation:
The best alternative according to the above evaluation is to get more involved with the Canadian media industry. It is the best alternative because it would spread hockey across Canada the most efficiently. Also, Canadians can enjoy the "Canadian game" during the week and not be limited to "Hockey Night in Canada" on CBC.
Tactical Plan: In order to implement the plan of involving more of the Canadian media industry, partnerships need to be discussed. Not only that, but games need to be fit into the television schedule based on surveys conducted that could provide data of when the most popular shows are airing. There should not be conflict that could, in turn, makes the NHL in Canada less popular. With the media, commercials can also be advertised to notify television watchers of that changes to help promote hockey. In order for this to follow through, a contract needs to be created to be signed by both the National Hockey League and the network itself. This alternative is the best method to further in promoting the NHL especially to Canadians, which is necessary for extending the National Hockey Leagues fan base.…...

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